Fort Defiance (1951)

81-82 mins | Western | 9 November 1951

Director:

John Rawlins

Writer:

Louis Lantz

Producer:

Frank Melford

Cinematographer:

Stanley Cortez

Production Designer:

Lucius O. Croxton

Production Company:

Ventura Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

In the onscreen credits, sound man L. John Myers' first initial was erroneously listed as "W." The picture was filmed on location in Gallup, NM. According to publicity material, Iron Eyes Cody's wife made the film's Navajo costumes. Some of the character names were unreadable in the viewed print and have been taken from a list supplied by the ... More Less

In the onscreen credits, sound man L. John Myers' first initial was erroneously listed as "W." The picture was filmed on location in Gallup, NM. According to publicity material, Iron Eyes Cody's wife made the film's Navajo costumes. Some of the character names were unreadable in the viewed print and have been taken from a list supplied by the CBCS. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
3 Nov 1951.
---
Daily Variety
30 Oct 1951
p. 3.
Film Daily
13 Nov 1951
p. 7.
Harrison's Reports
3 Nov 1951
p. 176.
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jun 1951
p. 18.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Jun 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Jun 1951
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
19 Jun 1951
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 1951
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 1951
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
8 Oct 1951
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Oct 1951
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
10 Nov 1951
p. 1102.
The Exhibitor
7 Nov 1951
p. 3187.
Variety
31 Oct 1951
p. 18.
DETAILS
Release Date:
9 November 1951
Production Date:
ended 27 June 1951
Copyright Claimant:
Ventura Pictures Corp.
Copyright Date:
2 November 1951
Copyright Number:
LP1340
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Color
Cinecolor
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in feet):
7,369
Length(in reels):
8
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15155
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Civil War veteran Ben Shelby arrives at the Tallon ranch in the Arizona desert. After he saves blind Ned Tallon from being trampled by a spirited horse, he encounters Ned's uncle Charlie, who is suspicious of Ben's claim that he is a friend of Ned's brother Johnny. When Ben learns that Johnny is expected at the ranch soon, he offers to help Ned and Charlie while he waits for Johnny's arrival. As time passes, Ben and Ned become friends. Ned speaks with pride of his brother's medals and war honors, and Ben reveals that his younger brother was killed during the war. One day, Charlie returns from nearby Fort Defiance with news that the U.S. government intends to round up the local Navajos and move them to a reservation in the Oklahoma Territory. The angry Indians have hidden in the rugged canyons surrounding the area and are making raids on the white settlers. When Ned asks for news of Johnny, Charlie reluctantly discloses that he was killed during a bank robbery. Hearing that, Ben reveals that he came to Arizona to kill Johnny, whose surrender to the Confederates during the Battle of Tennessee Ridge caused the deaths of many soldiers. Ben, the only survivor, lost his brother. His illusions shattered, Ned asks Ben to stay, but he is eager to rejoin his wife, and rides into Fort Defiance. In the saloon, Ben starts to write his wife with details of Johnny's betrayal, then changes his mind and returns to the ranch to form a partnership with Ned and Charlie. Unknown to Ben, Dave Parker, whose brothers were also killed ... +


Civil War veteran Ben Shelby arrives at the Tallon ranch in the Arizona desert. After he saves blind Ned Tallon from being trampled by a spirited horse, he encounters Ned's uncle Charlie, who is suspicious of Ben's claim that he is a friend of Ned's brother Johnny. When Ben learns that Johnny is expected at the ranch soon, he offers to help Ned and Charlie while he waits for Johnny's arrival. As time passes, Ben and Ned become friends. Ned speaks with pride of his brother's medals and war honors, and Ben reveals that his younger brother was killed during the war. One day, Charlie returns from nearby Fort Defiance with news that the U.S. government intends to round up the local Navajos and move them to a reservation in the Oklahoma Territory. The angry Indians have hidden in the rugged canyons surrounding the area and are making raids on the white settlers. When Ned asks for news of Johnny, Charlie reluctantly discloses that he was killed during a bank robbery. Hearing that, Ben reveals that he came to Arizona to kill Johnny, whose surrender to the Confederates during the Battle of Tennessee Ridge caused the deaths of many soldiers. Ben, the only survivor, lost his brother. His illusions shattered, Ned asks Ben to stay, but he is eager to rejoin his wife, and rides into Fort Defiance. In the saloon, Ben starts to write his wife with details of Johnny's betrayal, then changes his mind and returns to the ranch to form a partnership with Ned and Charlie. Unknown to Ben, Dave Parker, whose brothers were also killed at Tennessee Ridge, has found his letter and is now determined to kill Ned in revenge. During a shootout at the ranch, Charlie sacrifices his life so that Ben and Ned can escape. While Ned and Ben hide in the canyons, Johnny, who is not dead, returns to the ranch. Learning what has happened, he and his friend Hankey track the two fugitives. When Johnny reaches the men, Ben, apprised of his identity, tries to kill him, but is disarmed by Hankey. Their skirmish is halted when they are forced to defend themselves against an Indian raiding party. Hankey is killed and the other three men decide to head for a little-known pass, hoping to escape further encounters with the Indians. The next day, however, they see a stagecoach under Indian attack and ride to help the passengers. That night, the Indians gather nearby. While the men prepare for a morning battle, passenger Julie, a disgraced dance hall hostess on her way to San Francisco, talks with Ned. In the morning, the Indian attack is interrupted by the arrival of the Cavalry. Ben then tells Johnny that he will forget about seeking revenge for the death of his brother if he will allow Ned to remain with him. Johnny refuses, determined to take Ned to San Francisco for an eye operation. At Fort Defiance, however, Ned tries to kill Johnny, who realizes that he has lost his brother's love. Because Ned refuses to take any of the money Johnny stole to fix his eyes, Johnny forces Parker to buy the Tallon ranch. After giving the money to Ned, Johnny goes after Parker. During the gunfight, Johnny is killed along with Parker's men. Ben then kills Parker. Julie agrees to marry Ned and make a new start on the ranch. As they and Ben prepare to leave Fort Defiance, Ben's wife arrives on the stage to join them. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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